Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

1994, 1995 Doubleday edition
Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Original and purchase price unknown
Worn paperback with autograph

The title comes from a story, also told in Operating Instructions I believe, about how her brother had put off a school report on birds till the last night, and their father told him to write it "bird by bird."  I think that's good advice for some writing, and some of life.  But there isn't much useful here really.  (For one thing, I find that when I really have something to write about, nothing stands in my way.  And if I'm not into a story, then nothing's going to unblock me.)  I most enjoyed getting updates on her life with Sam and (before her death) Pammy.

The autograph is odd because I have no memory if it was there when I got the book from the campus bookstore, or if I heard Lamott speak and got her autograph, as I was taking a class in Women Writers where both the Lamott books I own were included.  I still recall hearing Ellen Goodman speak at my earlier campus, around 1987, with my feminist boyfriend (the future ex-husband) in tow, but if I ever saw Lamott in person, that memory's completely gone.  And I don't even have Lamott's excuse of cocaine and alcohol abuse.

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